Sunday, March 25, 2018

a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

The Word for today:
Numbers 23, 24
Q. Who is the oddest cat in Scripture?
I wouldn’t want to offend anyone (especially Him) but by any standard definition of “odd,” the oddest, hands down, is Jesus. But if you’re looking for the biggest oddball in scripture, then I would have to say Balaam.
And even odder than Balaam himself is his relationship with God. God gives Balaam great prophetic powers. He even gives him the power of the Holy Spirit.
Balaam’s story is invaluable to me, but in an inverse way. It is invaluable because it teaches me how much I have yet to learn about God.
As you read, forget Balaam and read about the character called God (or LORD.) Watch His interaction with Balaam, and then ask yourself how well you know this LORD, this God, who confides in a known religious huckster called Balaam, provides said charlatan with His Holy Spirit, and chooses said swindler to deliver one of the most remarkable prophecies in scripture. Doesn’t God know a better sort to consort with?
My advice to the reader is to read the Balaam chapters twice. (It is not burdensome to do so, for they are highly entertaining!) During the first reading, concentrate on Balaam. During the second reading, concentrate on God, bringing none of your presuppositions to the reading.
Balaam is a mystery, but this God character is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. He will leave you scratching your head, wondering just who does this remind you of? Just who is this God who hangs out with hucksters and swindlers and charlatans and losers and sinners and prophets and tax collectors and prostitutes and Pharisees and Judas and, umhh, me.
Whenever I’ve got God pretty much cornered (in my mind) and confined (to my mind) then I come back here to Numbers 22, 23, and 24. These three chapters wipe all of my smug suppositions and preconceived notions off the slate.
Then, knowing I know next to nothing, I’m in a perfect position to learn.

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